The first foreign country in which Ozar Hatorah set up schools was Iran. This was due largely to the energy and vision one man-Rabbi Isaac Lewi. Rabbi Lew was sent to Iran by the joint Distribution Committee to expedite the delivery of supplies to Jews who had fled before Hitler's advancing armies, and were now located in Siberia. Iran was a country we provided access to the Soviet Un Lewi was not a man to construe his miss narrowly. He traveled around the countr and investigated the condition of the var ous Jewish communities. His findings, which he communicated to the Vaad Hahatzalah in New York, made melanch reading-dire poverty, abysmal ignoranc and lack of religious leadership. It was doubtful if a single fully-qualified rabbi existed in the entire country.
|Ozar Hatorah entered the picture.Rabbi Lew was appointed head of its Iran operation. Under his inspired leadership, a network of 40 schools was established with an enrollment of 8,600 students. In addition to a first-rate religious and secular education, the students were given free lunches and provided with medical care. An arrangement was also made with the Alliance Israelite Universelle whereby Ozar Hatorah would provide ten hours per week of Jewish education in all Alliance primary schools and would main tain full responsibility for both teachers and curriculum in the religious area.|
|Within a few years of its inception,
Ozar Hatorah was nourishing a far flung educational network serving some 17,000 students. Dhese ranged from first grade youngsters to learned students preparing to enter the rabbinate.
It was only natural that Ozar Hatorah make a move to Syria. In Aleppo, it came to the assistance of two existing schools which were having difficulties, shoring up their finances and adding two advanced classes in one of them. In Damascus, Ozar Hatorah opened up a school which soon had an enrollment of 350 students. In 1971, the Damascus school was singled out by the government education department as the school with the highest grades in the country. The schools in both cities are still operating. Funds are provided by the joint Distribution Committee, which channels the money through the Near East Jewish Aid Society.